Wednesday, 24 March 2010

DOWN TO THE DOCTOR’S: Rule by bludger, & justice by ouija board

_richardmcgrath Libertarianz leader Dr Richard McGrath ransacks the newspapers for stories and headlines on issues affecting our freedom.

This week he takes aim at: Rule by bludger, & justice by ouija board

  1. Double whammy looms for landlords – In a massive tax grab by the National Party, the country’s most notorious bludger -- Bill English -- now wants to close a loophole whereby landlords can use losses on rental property investment to reduce their personal income and at the same time claim the Welfare for Working Families handout.
        I wonder if Bill will also close the loophole that forced the taxpayer to fund his Karori home to the tune of $1,000 a week despite the presence of two rather healthy incomes?
        He’s very concerned about a hypothetical landlord earning $100,000 a year, who uses the existing tax laws to quite legally reduce his income by about $18,000. What about the flesh-and-blood politician who uses parliamentary rules to make others subsidise his million dollar mansion? What about the incentives that encourage tax avoidance?
        If Bludger Bill is serious about stopping unjustified rorts on the taxpayer, here’s what he should do: firstly, as a goodwill gesture, stop all perks to parliamentarians; and secondly, abolish Welfare for Working Families so that well-off people can’t claim it (though I seem to recall the rather comfortable WWF poster family with its cell phones and iPod).
        Will he? Does he have the spine?  No, because National has no intention of rolling back any of the welfarism and the massive public sector built up by Helen Clark and her administration over nine years. They are quite comfortable with half the country receiving handouts from the state, but they want to suck more of your money away in taxes.
        They can’t walk the talk, because they love Nanny.

2. Judges recall jurors sex break, use of ouija board – It’s high time the system that compels people to report for jury duty was reviewed. Such a system is analogous to military conscription, which to a libertarian reads as legalized slavery. This item recalls judges reports of reluctant jury members being dragged screaming back into courtrooms, and a juror who used a ouija board during a trial.
    These sorts of stories do not inspire confidence in the jury system. Perhaps an improvement on the status quo would be the development of agencies with pools of professional jurors who could be utilized for criminal court cases. This would tend to weed out the sort of dross we read about from time to time – those chronic underachievers who lack the concentration and intellect to analyse evidence and testimony, and whose inept behaviour often result in expensive mistrials.
    If the standards of our juries is to be raised, then the manifestly inadequate must no longer be forced into jury membership.
    Like paying for competent justice, the justice system should be able to pay for a jury of high standard.  

“When the people fear the government, there is tyranny - when the
government fear the people, there is liberty.”


  1. "They can’t walk the talk, because they love Nanny."
    Yes! Exactly.

  2. I agree re juries- make jury service compulsory, with absolutely no exceptions. Then nobody can complain!

  3. It’s high time the system that compels people to report for jury duty was reviewed. Such a system is analogous to military conscription...

    Indeed. I have written to the powers that be and been excused 5 times - something I am quite proud of. I don't intend to do jury *duty* - ever.

    Totally agree the service should be paid for on the (relatively) free market.

  4. Richard,

    Don't agree with you on jury duty.

    If people want the right to trial by jury, they must expect to pull jury duty themselves.

    You can't play the tune if you won't pay the piper.

  5. Richard McGrath24 Mar 2010, 13:30:00

    PC - Jury nullification aside, my gut feeling is that most innocent people would elect trial by judge, given the choice.

    But if you did choose trial by jury and were in turn asked to serve on a jury, you should be able to nominate a jury agency to deputise for you.

  6. Richard

    The choice is trial by your peers or judgement by an enforcement officer paid by the same state that is prosecuting you. Surley most innocent people would rather chance their peers, rather than the politically appointed.


  7. PC,
    Most small government libertarians agree that defending our freedoms by providing a defense and force is an appropriate role for government. However we believe military service should be voluntary. Defense of our freedom is a role for government authority but not a right in the sense that our fellow citizens must be forced to provide it. Surely the same line of thinking should follow for the provision of a jury. If not, why not?

  8. It just occurs to me that may be that PCs' comment refers to pools of paid professional jurors. IMO this is not desirable and would not really be an intellectually independent jury of your peers. However paying jurors may maybe necessary if not enough unpaid voluntary participants can be found - funded by voluntary taxation of course.
    As a defendant I would rather have a jury of people who are more likely to apply common sense and who are not distracted by anxieties related to being forced to attend at a time when they are needed at home or work. The current selection process does give lawyers a chance to weed out the dross.


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